Safe Bet vs. Who Knows?

With this blow-dryer joke, it’s safe to say that Penelope Cruz has the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in the bag. Maybe she already had it and this is icing on the cake. Whatever. I do know that 65-and-over male Academy members (i.e., the Lorenzo Semple, Jr. crowd) have a rep for responding to alluring female contenders. From this point those who haven’t yet voted will be thinking the following about Cruz: (a) great firecracker performance in the Woody Allen film, (b) beautiful, (c) superb in Volver and (b) blowjob joke on Leno. That cinches it.

The question I haven’t settled is whether Kate Winslet will take the Best Actress Oscar for The Reader or if — this is a tangle — uncertainty about what category her Reader performance really and truly belongs in plus Meryl Streep‘s popularity with the acting branch (i.e., that SAG Best Actress award) will upset the apple cart.

  • Rod32303

    THANK YOU, JEFF! Cruz was fucking majestic in “Volver,” but every TIME she was on screen in Vicky Cristina, the eyes went no where else.

    AND…it’s Meryl by a nose. As it should be.

  • Rod32303

    because the dipshits nominated Kate for the wrong film.

    FYI, just watched “Billy Elliott” and remembered the promise that Daldry had. There’s HUNGER in that film, and Jamie Bell was robbed of a nomination back then.

  • cinefan

    I guess Cruz is the favorite in the category but I still see each of the actresses nominated as having a legitimate shot at winning (heck, there might be a good number of people voting for Amy Adams because they thought she was robbed for not winning for Junebug a few years back).

  • Josh Massey

    God, this page is going to give me a seizure…

  • Don Murphy

    I didn’t vote for her.

  • Jeremy Fassler

    I really don’t believe Cruz is going to win it. If you’ve seen all the performances in that category, how can you deny that Viola Davis had so much more in her performance and in the role as written? I’m not buying the Cruz hype, especially since it seems to come from nowhere.

    Note: I’m not saying I disliked her in the film. I thought she was hilarious. But I wouldn’t give her the Oscar.

  • Gordon27

    If Cruz loses, it’s going to Davis. I don’t know whether I expect her to lose, but I expect that this year’s Oscar surprise will be in one of the two actress categories. And I’m not sure that Streep winning is ever a surprise.

  • Gordon27

    “how can you deny that Viola Davis had so much more in her performance and in the role as written?”

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that Davis does a better job because Shanley did a better job than Woody Allen in writing the role.

    “I’m not buying the Cruz hype, especially since it seems to come from nowhere.”

    I thought it was “from nowhere” when she won her first critical award, but now that she has won umpteen and a half, I don’t think you can say the hype is coming “from nowhere”. I feel the same way I felt about Forrest Whitaker — fine actor, fine performance, not sure why there’s such a strong, near-universal consensus, but I can’t deny the existence of that consensus.

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    As per usual, this is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable categories of the night. I wouldn’t be so sure of yourself, Wells.

    I wouldn’t even necessarily count Tomei out (my personal fave of the noms), and she’s already got her Oscar.

  • Gordon27

    I would be more willing to bet on Tomei not winning than anybody winning; she’s already (entirely unfairly) pointed out as a fluke who didn’t deserve the first one. If she weren’t up against three people who could all legitimately win, and are more respected actresses who have never won before, she might have more of a shot for the same performance.

    That’s not a slight on Tomei — she’s good; she takes a role which is wafer-thin on paper and makes it into something. But you don’t win supporting actress for playing a stripper; you win it for playing a whore.

  • Gordon27

    Fun trivia question: What’s the last movie to win two acting awards without being nominated for Best Picture?

    I should confess — that’s not actually a trivia question; I’m wondering if anybody is aware of any examples of this, because I can’t find any in the last 25 years, and can’t think of any prior to that (I think there’s at least one, but I don’t know what — it makes sense, too, since the actors are the main voting bloc).

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    Agreed on Tomei’s diminished chances due to her Oscar. But since winning, she has had time (and the roles) to prove she can actually act.

    I’m not entirely convinced that the fact that she was considered a “fluke winner” couldn’t conceivably play out in her favor, in a strange way.

    Be interesting to see what happens here.

  • raygo

    I think Tomei and Cruz are the frontrunners. Tomei because she overcame the “fluke” status with a third nomination, something Mira Sorvino never could. Speaking of … Woody has directed three best supporting actresses and a best supporting actor, something to consider for Cruz.

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    “Fun trivia question: What’s the last movie to win two acting awards without being nominated for Best Picture?”

    Looks like Hud (Patricia Neal, Melvyn Douglas) waaaaay back in 1963 (’64 ceremony). Good question.

  • /3rtfu11

    I’m only assuming here but I think the people in camp Viola have more pull than those in camp Cruz.

    Streep – Shanley – Hoffman – Adams – Clooney – Soderbergh – Cameron – Winfrey vs. Hayek – Bardem – Cruise – God knows who else?

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum


    Bit of a stretch assuming Clooney and especially Cameron are automatically going to vote for her based on the fact that they worked together 6 years ago on a Soderbergh film (which I personally loved, but flopped hard and is largely forgotten).

    Do these people really have pull in Oscar voting, anyway? I think people generally think (and vote) for themselves, it’s not like the results are ever made public.

  • rr3333

    While Cruz was really good in Woody’s movie, the fact remains that she barely can speak any English (or more to the point : you cant understand much of what comes out of her mouth).

  • Chase Kahn

    Cruz was so much better in ‘Volver’ — it would be odd for her to win for lesser (albeit good work) in a bad film like ‘Barcelona’.

  • Rod32303

    Streep being NOMINATED is never a surprise, but her winning? You have to go back 27 years ago for “Sophie’s Choice” for the last time she won. There’s been some dreck for sure (good lord, “Music of the Heart?”) but she still slays me in “Ironwood,” “The Bridges of Madison County” and “Prada.”

  • /3rtfu11

    CitizenKanedforChewingGum: I’ve always heard things like certain actors or producers have pull with the Academy but who knows?

  • Gordon27

    “it would be odd for her to win for lesser (albeit good work)”

    Why odd? Seems like par for the course.

    “You have to go back 27 years ago for “Sophie’s Choice” for the last time she won.”

    Rod – I know she hasn’t won in a long time, but I still wonder if she could ever win and have it be as big a surprise as, say, Tilda Swinton, or Adrien Brody. It seems as if, no matter what movie she’s in, she’s always assumed to be at least in the running. If she won this year, it wouldn’t be as big a surprise as Leo, Hathaway, or even Jolie.

  • Gordon27

    Kaned – if I had looked that far back, I wouldn’t have even checked ‘Hud’, because I would’ve assumed it was nominated for Best Picture, solely because of its modern reputation. (I’m amazed that a movie in any day could be nominated for Actor, Actress [Win!], Supporting Actor [win!], Director, Screenplay, and CInematography [Win!], and not picture… but you know how that goes.)

    The strange thing about comparing Tomei to Sorvino is that nobody was surprised when Sorvino won; it was a fluke as far as her career goes, but I don’t remember anybody else even being in the conversation that year. Now, I think Tomei was great in that movie, and deserved the Oscar, and I don’t think that it’s true that Palance misread it… but how many times in Oscar history has such a rumor even gotten started?

    And, yes, I think it’s funnier that her two nominations seem to have given her more acting cred than actually winning.

  • GiveMeTheMapScott

    Wrestler was my favorite movie this past year (altho i only saw 60 movies, and they included Bangkok Dangerous & Max Payne) but I did see Doubt and altho it didnt rock my world I have to say that Amy Adams has a shot because she is so good and the Academy voters might (rightfully) be looking to make up for not voting for her luminous Junebug performance. That movie was brilliant, and only gets better each time I see it and I can only imagine how it has stuck in voters’ heads…..

    So I am going out on a limb and saying here and now that Amy Adams takes the stage, upsettting her co-star (whose perf I feel is overrated) on Oscar Night

  • Movie Watcher

    Streep has been nominated 14, 15 times. She has won twice. That’s it? Not a good percentage. Enough of her. I don’t know if Cruz will win, but if she does, the acceptance speech should be interesting. I say it’s between Tomei and Davis.

  • MindlessObamaton

    Cruz was great in VCB and this clip is the best thing I’ve seen Leno do in years (and the only time I’ve watched his show in years, too!).

  • BurmaShave

    Penelope Cruz is the only nominee who has worked with Christian Bale, so now she has the sympathy factor going for her.

  • actionman

    While it would be sweet to see Bardem give Cruz the trophy, her nomination is a JOKE. It’s a completely one-note character, a character who appears and disappears from the story and adds very little in my estimation. there was no shading, no nuance, nothing but yelling and crying and whining. Rosemarie DeWitt was ROBBED of a supporting actress nom for her brilliant and extremely layered perf in Rachel Getting Married. I thought VCB was good and fun and sexy looking, but color me disappointed with all of Cruz’s material; the best parts of the film belonged to the interplay between Bardem, Hall, and ScarJo.

    And for me, VCB is a notch below both Cassandra’s Dream and Match Point in overall quality.

  • cinefan

    “Streep has been nominated 14, 15 times. She has won twice. That’s it? Not a good percentage.”

    It’s an incredible accomplishment just to be nominated that many times. Who cares what her percentage is, considering that only three actors in film history have been nominated 10 or more times for acting oscars and they all have terrible “percentages”:

    Jack Nicholson – 3 for 12

    Meryl Streep – 2 for 15

    Laurence Olivier – 1 for 10

    Pretty impressive company, I’d say…

  • cinefan

    Oops, I forgot to include Bette Davis (2 for 10 in acting nominations) and Katherine Hepburn (4 for 12) in the group I listed up above.

  • Gordon27

    I think Streep would win more often if she weren’t so well regarded. Her own bar is so high that it’s quite likely impossible for her to rise high enough above that bar to stand out and really get noticed, because no matter how good she is, it’s easy to write off and say, “Yeah, but she’s Meryl Streep; isn’t it more surprising that Hillary Swank was that good?”

    [Hillary Swank = two Best Actress Oscars, two nominations. Drink that in.]

  • Phatang!

    Cruz will win. People like her. People like the idea of her in a Woody Allen movie. The whole thing would feel good.

    Winslet will win. It doesn’t matter what the movie is. It’s her turn, and there’s no other obvious choice.

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